Because I stuttered, I chose art early in life to be my interlocater. It told my stories, true ones or those cobbled from scratch, and gathered an audience of “visual listeners”. From the NJ classrooms where my stuttering was a gift for bullies, I entered the fortress that was Rhode Island School of Design in the 60s, where I hammered out the armor I needed, telling stories through studying illustration.
My narrative paintings are their own raconteurs. As the work has evolved, what began as a collection of humorous, nostalgic tales admired by collectors who enjoy the color saturated patterns, playful situations, mostly set in the 30s-50s, often containing women having a good time surrounded by props that may have had little to do with the “cast members” in their actual lives, it’s the juxtaposition I pulled together that has allowed the paintings to stand in as the voice with which I built my reputation as a painter of women.
Last year, as I grew weary of mapping out yet another up tempo composition, a documentary about the violent treatment of women and girls around the globe was shown on PBS. A flame was lit within me, and an anger I’ve rarely experienced began to boil. I understood that as an artist, I hold a responsibility to use my gift to help these millions of suffering women. Because I’ve got a spinal injury from a long ago tumor that left me disabled, the usual choices of what to do aren’t available to me, but a portal which allowed me the energy to paint the stories about this worldwide crime swung wide open, and I put a new canvas on the easel the next morning. I call the series of what will be 24 paintings, “On Women Bound”.
The horrors women experience each day would be a simple matter to portray by splashing painted variations of blood and guts on a surface, but respecting these stories requires an empathetic approach that educates without overkill. The rapes, murders, maimings, beatings, burnings, kidnappings into slavery, starving of babies, lack of opportunity for education and jobs, and living in fear continue in our own lifetimes of privilege, in your city, in my town, as well as in third world countries.
Hopefully, some women are brave enough to take a risk toward bettering their lives. They achieve change by setting up schools in secret, and by marching in the street in protest against warfare, and by forming groups for strength in numbers, and by learning how to grow better food, and by making marketable crafts that bring in enough money to support their families, for the first time. I’ll be painting these success stories to honor these women. It’s my hope, and it should be yours, too, that for every act of violence against women and girls, there is a victory against their oppression. Each woman who succeeds in the face of danger is a beacon of light to others. For example, Malala, shot in the head by the Pakistani Taliban because she dared to want an education, survives to shine her light on thousands of newly self assured women and girls throughout the oppressed world, who are shouting “I am Malala, I am Malala!”
Jane Hickey Caminos, Born 1947 in Brooklyn, grew up in Pompton Lakes. She is a Registered Artist of the City of New York (RACNY), a juried honor.
- National Women’s Caucus for Art, Gallery nine5, NYC “Identity” juried exhibition 2014
- United Nations Sponsored International Women’s Caucus for Art Arc Gallery, Chicago “Best of 2014” juried exhibition 2014
- New Art Group, Watchung Arts Center “Multiplicity” group exhibition 2014
- National Women’s Caucus for Art, Pam Foss Gallery, Maryland “Women’s Rights, An Artist’s Perspective” juried exhibition 2013
- New Art Group Jersey City Studio Tour “Sticks and Stones” juried group exhibition 2013
- New Art Group at Kessler Foundation West Orange, NJ “Light” group exhibition 2013
- New Art Group, Watchung Arts Center “Green” group exhibition 2013
- National Women’s Caucus on Art Phoenix Gallery NYC “Stories We Tell ” juried exhibition 2013
- New Art Group, Watchung Arts Center “OMG” group exhibition 2012
- New Art Group,The Hamilton Gallery Bound Brook, NJ “Bound/Brook” group exhibition 2012
- Watchung Arts Center “Is There a Pulse?” juried exhibition 2011
- Watchung Arts Center, Watchung, NJ juried exhibition 2010
- Wellfleet Library Wellfleet, MA “Sentimental Jouney” solo exhibition 2010
- Passions Gallery Provincetown, MA “The Boudoir” solo exhibition 2002
- Red Wing Gallery Brewster, MA group exhibition 2001
- Newton Free Library Newton, MA “Friends in Good Company” solo exhibition 1999
- Lafayette Gallery NY, NY “Caminos Women” solo exhibition 1997
- Newton Free Library Newton, MA “An Affair to Remember” solo exhibition 1995
- The Back Porch Gallery Lewes, DE solo exhibition 1994
- Levinson Kane Gallery Boston, MA group exhibitions 1992-93-94
- Loring Gallery Lawrence, NY solo exhibition 1994
- Thomas Heuess House NYC juried exhibition 1993
- Newton Free Library Newton, MA “Watermelon Wanda Dreams of Fame” solo exhibition 1992
- Newton Center for the Arts Newton, MA “Newton Paints” juried exhbition 1992
- Haut Rage Gallery Brookline, MA solo exhibition1991
- Pallas Athene Gallery Brookline, MA solo exhibition 1991
- Gallery at 1800 Beacon Brookline, MA solo exhibition 1991
- Boston Globe Sunday Edition Weekend Front Page “Caminos Newton Library Exhibition a Must” 1992
- Newton Tab “Caminos is Best in Show” 1992
- Tribeca Trib “Tribeca Painter Jane Caminos” 1995
- Kessler Center for Rehabilitation calendar, featured artist 2010
- National Women’s Caucus for Art “Stories We Tell” juried exhibition catalog 2013
- International National Women’s Caucus for Art “Half the Sky” juried catalog 2014
- At the Edge Magazine, “Caminos ‘On Women Bound’ ” Michael Ferrar, publisher, 2nd Edition 2014
- National Women’s Caucus for Art “Women’s Rights, An Artist’s Perspective” juried catalog 2014